Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Audio Fiction Content Guidelines

Okay, so here's the story so far...

Hallowe'en came and went, and I was frustrated that while I had time to discover some great seasonal weblit fiction, I did not have time to read it, so I posted an open letter to the weblit community requesting that, this winter, we collect our holiday stories into an audio collection of some sort and distribute it, so cool people can listen to your voices over the holidays and share them with the people they care about.

My plan is to write a post each night in November, breaking the project down into various topics in order to facilitate a discourse, and I hope that by the end of the month, we will have reached consensus about all the important points of the project, and we can roll the November energy into December and have something available for download mid month. This is entirely doable, because you are all talented people, and because I believe this is a valuable thing that needs to be done.

I want to table two issues, then finish with a few suggested guidelines about content.

1) Writing this out every night is meant to build momentum, but also, I want to organize like an agile scrum team (google as necessary). Everything I have seen of the weblit community demonstrates that you work individually, but also through constant collaboration. With this in mind, PLEASE leave comments whenever and wherever you like. I will find them. Then, each Sunday in November, I will assemble and report progress. This week, for instance, I will compile a list of involved parties.

2) The next step is to reach out to the reader community. One of the dangers with collaboration is that we create walled gardens and mutual admiration clubs. Writer. Reader. When you read one of your stories out loud, you become a reader.

Content Guidelines

Roughly speaking, 1000 words is about 10 minutes read aloud. Any longer than this and we run the risk of losing audience attention. Short and snappy is going to be our best approach. 15 minutes at the very most.

Audience appropriate means no swearing, rough language or sexual content, and violence should be limited to snowballs and abusive ghosts. There is no need to censor ourselves, but there is also no need to place a limit on our audience. Plus, holiday, festive etc.

I will repeat that people excel at downloading mp3s, but, semantically, like pdfs and epubs, audio files are walled gardens - they don't let meaning out - so I think we need to provide the source text of our stories to make the whole package searchable. This could be as simple as a supplemental RSS or Atom stream, or all sorts of Dublin Core and Open Provenance. This will be determined.

And of course, these are just some opinions that I am trying to flesh out. When all is said and done, we will put our voices together and we will see what happens. Please add your two cents.

1 comment:

Anne Lyken-Garner said...

Sounds like a very ambitious project. Good luck with it.